Developing Your True Interests
What is SRS9?
Ninth Grade at Shaker Road School (SRS9) is a rigorous high school program that offers the motivated student opportunities to grow in independence, refine academic skills, and develop leadership abilities before moving on to three or four years at a new high school. Families choose SRS9 for a variety of reasons, but students successfully completing the year will be fully prepared for academic and social success at future schools.
How is SRS9 structured?
The program is one of “structured independence.” Students attend regular classes and have a dedicated ninth grade space for daily work and study. They have increased freedom on campus and are expected to responsibly manage their time without direct supervision outside of academic classes.
Regular academic courses include world literature, West Asian history, biology, Spanish or Latin, and math at an appropriate level. Students also study fine and performing arts and engage in enrichment experiences.
SRS9 students also have opportunities for more exploratory learning including travel and outdoor education. Past students have participated in day trips studying White Mountain geology, ecology, and orienteering and extended trips focusing on native culture, regional history, and marine biology.
Shaker Road School encourages SRS9 students to continue age-appropriate participation in all SRS clubs and activities, including student government, drama, music ensembles, and robotics. Students may pursue athletics either at SRS or through a local school or club program. SRS will help facilitate participation when necessary.
Why do parents and students choose SRS9?
SRS9 is designed foremost as an academically rigorous ninth grade program that prepares students to be leaders once they leave SRS. Beyond simply desiring such an environment, families choose SRS9 for a variety of reasons.
Students who will be attending their local public high school may want to avoid a ninth-grade experience, which can often seem like a review year for SRS students. Our Eighth Grade students tend to far exceed the preparation needed for the academic and social programs many public schools offer their ninth graders.
Up to one-third of students attending independent high schools (boarding and day) “reclassify” at some point during high school. That is, they repeat a year for any number of reasons. Reasons and advantages for reclassifying might include “catching up” in years to one’s classmates, maturing a year before entering a high school environment, improving academic preparedness, and growing in areas of interest like athletics or the arts. A ninth-grade year at SRS allows students to move to a new school and reclassify as ninth graders without any sort of stigma attached.
Students not intending to reclassify when they enter an independent high school can save considerable money by attending SRS9. SRS tuition is, on average, 55.5% of area independent day schools.
It is common for students to matriculate to independent schools as tenth graders. SRS9 students would not be alone, by any stretch, in missing ninth grade at other schools. Due to the commonality of this, most independent schools have established orientations for new students entering after ninth grade.
Students who intend to board at a high school but may not be ready for the challenges of boarding sometimes attend a local area day school for one year, transferring to a boarding school the next year. This extra transition can take an emotional toll on students and families. Students who remain at SRS for ninth grade avoid this additional transition from school to school. urses during the school day. Course credit from VLACS is transferrable to high schools along with SRS credits.
Won’t my child feel left behind when some classmates graduate and move on after eighth grade?
Whenever a group of students breaks up after years together, some students may experience a sense of isolation. Our experience, historically and more recently, is that SRS9 students quickly adjust since they are still part of the familiar environment of Shaker Road School. They can assume leadership roles and independence they may not have experienced as middle schoolers. They are treated as high school students. Compared to their peers in other ninth grade programs, SRS9 students may have more independence.
Won’t it be difficult for my child to transition to high school as a sophomore?
This has not been our experience with our Ninth Grade students entering high school. SRS9 students would not be alone, by any stretch, in being new tenth graders at a school, since this is a very common aspect of independent schools. Most schools have strong, established induction programs designed expressly for new tenth graders.
Will SRS tuition increase because it is high school?
No. The tuition will remain the same as middle school and financial assistance will still be available for those who qualify. SRS9 tuition is approximately 55% of day tuition and one-third of boarding tuition at area independent schools.
Will my child be able to play sports in SRS9?
This depends on the sport and the year. If enough students attend SRS9 and share similar interests, then it is possible to create a sports team. Additionally, the flexibility in the Ninth Grade schedule makes it possible for students to participate in other sports programs (local high school teams, club teams, etc.). If Ninth Grade students are young enough, they may be eligible to continue playing on SRS middle school teams.
Is the academic program challenging enough / too challenging for my child?
SRS has always prided itself on meeting students where they learn at every level of schooling, and SRS9 is no different. SRS9 is not designed as a remedial program, but teaching will still be personalized for students. Should students want to focus their learning on particular skills or content, teachers, families, and advisors can work to ensure this happens.
Will online learning be required or permitted?
SRS9 is fully staffed by certified teachers across all core subject areas and the arts. Our goal is not to supplement our curriculum with online learning (like VLACS); however, it may be necessary should students want to take certain advanced classes in high school or desire to take a course not offered at SRS. Depending on the situation, we will likely facilitate those online courses during the school day. Course credit from VLACS is transferrable to high schools along with SRS credits.
Our Ninth Grade students are prepared to soar when they leave Shaker Road School. In recent years, our students have matriculated to the following schools:
- Belmont High School
- Dublin School
- Concord Christian School
- Concord High School
- New Hampton School
- Proctor Academy